Borknagar
The Archaic Course


4.0
excellent

Review

by Hawks USER (71 Reviews)
July 13th, 2010 | 79 replies


Release Date: 1998 | Tracklist

Review Summary: One of Borknagar's most underrated albums.

Whenever the name Borknagar comes up most people probably think of either their newer, more progressive albums such as Empiricism. Maybe some people think of their more folk black metal oriented sound on their self-titled album and The Olden Domain. I highly doubt many people associate their third release, The Archaic Course with some of their better albums. Well you should think again because this album is just as worthy as all of those other releases. So maybe this album doesn't have the supergroup line-up that they had on their first album or the strong folk metal influences that it did on early albums, but what it does have is enough catchiness, melody, and atmosphere to give you one hell of a melodic black metal album.

First off, what most people are going to notice about this album is the fact that Garm is no longer apart of Borknagar at this point in the band's career. Garm has been replaced by a man who most people in the black metal scene know as Dimmu Borgir's former bassist and that man is ICS Vortex, or simply just Vortex. Vortex is similar to Garm in many ways. Both men have vocal styles that consist of using both black metal shrieks and very operatic, clean singing. In fact if this album was just made up of black metal vocals then you probably wouldn't even be able to tell the diffence. Their harsh vocals sound very much the same. The difference is in the clean vocals. Now Garm is one of my favorite black metal vocalists, but he doesn't have the range that Vortex has. This man can hit some extremely high notes while singing and it's definitely a treat. There is a lot more clean singing on this album than there is shrieks and that's really not a bad thing at all. So if you're not a fan of the black metal vocals then maybe this is the album for you.

Instrumentally Borknagar doesn't really do anything that you haven't heard from a lot of the other melodic black metal bands out there. While they might now be very unique, they still get the job done. The album is dominated by melodic riffs and some tremolo picking here and there. If your a fan of melody in your black metal then there's no reason why you shouldn't be interested in this album. Like most black metal albums the bass is pretty much non-existent. The keyboards are a pretty big part of this album, like they are with a lot of melodic black metal albums. You won't find a huge symphony in this album like you will in some albums by some bands like Dimmu Borgir or Cradle of Filth. The keyboards simply do their job of giving off a great atmosphere and don't try to overdo anything.

Basically, if you're a fan of melodic black metal you should really enjoy this album. If you've only heard the first few albums then don't come into this expecting a folk/black metal albums because that's not what you're getting yourself into at all. There are really no traces of that sound to be found in this album. Now on the other hand if you want a melodic black metal album with a lot of clean, operatic vocals with some normal black metal shrieks mixed in along the way, then this is definitely one of the albums you want to hear. The Archaic Course is by far Borknagar's most underrated release and it deserves to be heard.



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user ratings (66)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Hawks
July 13th 2010


35838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Wanted to do another review so I thought I'd give this a shot since it hasn't been reviewed yet. Tell me what you guys think.

Hawks
July 13th 2010


35838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oops double post.

Bitchfork
July 13th 2010


7584 Comments


Hawks likes an album. I put it on my don't listen to list.

Hawks
July 13th 2010


35838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good one man.

TheSpirit
July 13th 2010


17885 Comments


good review borknagar rules. bitch you need to stop pretending to be elite (we all know your not) it's unbecoming

Digging: Wreodan Heahl - Laecig

Willie
Moderator
July 13th 2010


16019 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

This is the best that they ever did. Nice review.

Digging: Skrew - Universal Immolation

Hawks
July 13th 2010


35838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks guys. Willie I think The Olden Domain, Empiricism, and Epic are all better than this. This is probably tied with the self-titled. Quintessence is by far their worst IMO.

Willie
Moderator
July 13th 2010


16019 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

I agree that Quintessence is their worst, but I'm not a fan of the Garm-era Borknagar albums either. I mean they're good, but nothing special. Empiricism has some cool parts and is very close to this.

Hawks
July 13th 2010


35838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really? I love The Olden Domain. I don't know if that's my favorite or if Empiricism is. This album is extremely underrated though. Nobody ever seems to mention it.

Willie
Moderator
July 13th 2010


16019 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

I really like it. Empiricism is awesome too, but it's not as instant so I find myself coming back to this one more.

As for The Olden Domain, I'm not one of those people that thinks that garm is some vocal god. He's alright, but is also an acquired taste.

Hawks
July 13th 2010


35838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah you're right about that. Garm is one of my favorite, if not my favorite vocalists in black metal. Vortex definitely gets the job done on this album though. Vintersorg is pretty awesome too.

TheSpirit
July 13th 2010


17885 Comments


Epic is probably my favorite Borknagar album just for "Origin"

Hawks
July 13th 2010


35838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Epic also has Seal Chambers of Electricity and that's my favorite Borknagar song.

Willie
Moderator
July 13th 2010


16019 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

I like Vintersorg's vocals the most out of the three that the band has had.

Hawks
July 13th 2010


35838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well this band has had some excellent vocalists.

Willie
Moderator
July 13th 2010


16019 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

They should get the guy from Solefald.

Hawks
July 13th 2010


35838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Man I haven't listened to Solefald in ages. From what I've heard they're very good though. I've only heard one of their albums. Any rec's from that band?

Willie
Moderator
July 13th 2010


16019 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

The Linear Scaffold for sure.

I had a review for it, but my first act as mod was to delete it. It was an attempt at a "themed" review and it was an
embarrassment.

TheSpirit
July 13th 2010


17885 Comments


Honestly besides Garm and Vortex, I can't think of any other vocalists in black metal that are renowned for their abilities to do clean and screamed vocals.


(although I think the vocalist for Tenebrae In Perpetuum should be more known)

Hawks
July 13th 2010


35838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'll be getting that tomorrow then. Thanks dude. From what I remember they're pretty similar to Borknagar.



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